CHICAGO – Maybe this is his way to be his mantra that made him want to trust what he thought was best in the final minute Sunday afternoon.
“Be You” is something Matt Nagy has written on his play sheet and discusses often during his tenure with the Bears. Part of it was being true to himself and not letting that fact get lost in both the good and the bad times.
This is most certainly the latter for the coach, who didn’t have his faith rewarded on a sun-soaked afternoon at Soldier Field on Sunday. It’s becoming a theme for this 2019 Bears’ team, where faith in parts of the team has mostly gone unrewarded.
We start with the coach, who had the trust in his kicker so much that he didn’t feel the need to risk a turnover in the final minute. Following an 11-yard gain on a scramble by Trubisky, Nagy decided to take a knee and not run another play even with a timeout at his disposal. He believed in his kicker Eddy Pineiro to make a 41-yarder to finish off a close win the Bears needed to have, and not willing to risk the shot at turning it over in the process.
His faith went unrewarded. For a second time on the afternoon, Pineiro missed, giving Los Angeles a 17-16 victory.
“There was zero thought of that. I’ll just be brutally clear: Zero thought of throwing the football, zero thought of running the football. You understand me?,” said Nagy when asked repeatedly about the decision not to advance the ball in the final second. “That’s exactly what it was. It’s as simple as that.”
Maybe just as simple is the fact that his faith in Eddy Pineiro, who has been solid all the way up till Sunday, hasn’t been rewarded. He’d normally been good from that distance but on this day he simply wasn’t. It cost Nagy and the Bears dearly, but so has faith that has been misplaced in other areas.
Certainly he didn’t have enough in quarterback Mitchell Trubisky to perhaps try a pass with nearly a minute left before the kick instead of taking a knee. While his 11-yard scramble on the play before that set the Bears up for a potential game-winner, he had a pair of turnovers in the second half, including a fumble that led to a Chargers’ game-winning touchdown on a short field. On the play before, Trubisky missed Taylor Gabriel on what would have been a major gain to set up a potential game-clinching score.
“It’s a gut-check,” said Trubisky of the loss. “It’s who’s going to rise up to the challenge this week, who’s going to continue to work hard and stick together when we’re going through adversity, and you’ve got to embrace it.”
Even before that was faith unrewarded.
The coach has trusted that being creative will always find a way to work, hence the 12 plays in the redzone in the first half that failed to yield a single touchdown. Three passes failed to get in the endzone on the first of the three trips, with David Montgomery not getting a carry the second time they were down there. A pass, one Montgomery run, and a spike made up the third sequence that led to a field goal but left potentially 12 points on the field.
For once, Bears’ fans had faith that Nagy was the right person for this offense, just like the organization thought the same about the quarterback. A great 2018 put that belief in people, but it hasn’t come to fruition.
With nine games left and at 3-4 on the season, the Bears are now really at a crossroads moving forward, as they try to find the faith within themselves as a fan base looks for something to believe in the rest of the season.
More video available at chicagobears.com and nfl.com.